More Failed Sequestration Fearmongering from the FAA

The flight delays we've been warned about are running behind schedule


No reported delays on the spread of memes
Team Fortress 2

The managers of our massive federal bureaucracy have not given up on trying to convince Americans that even the slightest of spending cuts will have a devastating impact on the lives of its citizens. Furloughs for air traffic controllers kicked in this weekend, and Federal Aviation Administration heads warned Friday that air travelers will see flights delayed for hours. Here's what they said on Friday, according to the Associated Press:

In the most extreme case, the furloughs could delay flights up to 210 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, depending upon the time of day and other factors. The FAA said, however, that the average delay will be far less, about 11 minutes.

Other airports for which officials provided delay estimates include Newark, N.J., with maximum delays of 51 minutes and average delays of about 20 minutes; John F. Kennedy in New York, with maximum delays of 50 minutes and average 12 minutes; LaGuardia in New York, with maximum delays of 80 minutes and average 30 minutes; Los Angeles International, with maximum delays of 67 minutes, and average 10 minutes, and Chicago's O'Hare, with maximum delays of 132 minutes, average 50 minutes.

Here's what air travel actually looks like today, according to the Chicago Tribune:

The only delays of more than 30 minutes were seen at Washington Reagan National in D.C. and New York's LaGuardia Airport, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Delays at those airports, heavily trafficked by business travelers, tend to ripple throughout the country. Although as of 9 a.m., there were no delays in the U.S. of more than an hour.

Monday's clear skies were helping quell some weekend delays. Los Angeles International reported nearly a two-hour delay late Sunday night, and Newark Liberty International reported 28-minute delays, though the FAA could not confirm whether those were related to the staff cuts. Delays of up to 58 minutes in San Francisco and 29 minutes in Orlando, Florida, were due to construction and weather, the FAA said.

Of course, it's still relatively early and the delays may not just rack up immediately, the FAA is warning:

The FAA has warned that it will issue ground stops, which are orders preventing flights from taking off to certain destinations and airspace flow programs that restrict the number of planes on flight corridors. Both are tools to control capacity and maintain a high level of safety, officials said. They are customarily used during severe weather to slow down the air traffic system.

But now the procedures will be activated as the result of empty seats in airport control towers and at radar screens at FAA facilities that handle low-altitude traffic near major metropolitan areas as well as en route centers that manage high-altitude traffic traversing the national airspace, officials said.

The Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes and Reason magazine) makes the case for consolidating air traffic control facilities here.


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  1. So why doesn’t the FAA move some of those ATC’s from the outlying, podunk airports that only have coverage 8 hours a day to the large, important hubs?

    Or just furlough the guys working airports in the middle of nowhere to pay the crew working the large airports?

    1. Instead what we get is high traffic airports experiencing delays while some ATC sleeps in the tower in Georgia.

      1. So why doesn’t the FAA move some of those ATC’s from the outlying, podunk airports that only have coverage 8 hours a day to the large, important hubs?

        Because the government has lost the ability to make rational choices. Far more important to continue handing out Obamaphones and providing grant money to find out why men like big boobs.

        You fucking proles can just enjoy your extra time in the terminal.

    2. Because that doesn’t annoy people into giving them more money.

      That’s the entire point of the Washington Monument Gambit.

  2. “Delays of up to 58 minutes in San Francisco”

    SFO REALLY needs another runway, but it would take some filling of the bay and you can imagine the enviros’ response.
    Moonbeam’s choo-choo is supposed to substitute.

  3. You know what I don’t get, WTF started all the TF2 memes? My son is always laughing his ass off at some TF2 related nonsense on YouTube. There’s just tons and tons of it there. Between TF2 and Happy Wheels…

    1. Reviewers have noted that Happy Wheels exhibits graphic violence in its gameplay. For instance, players can be decapitated, shot, or crushed by different obstacles. Loss of limb and animated blood loss are also graphic elements.

      You better watch out, with your kid being trained by that vehicular homicide simulator.

      1. I watch him play it from time to time, it’s hysterical.


  4. Presumably the airports and airlines are losing money because of these delays. Why don’t they just pay the ATCs themselves?

    1. Because the gubmint provides those services for “free”.

  5. Just think. Because of drones, in 10-20 years we’ll replace all those pilots with autonomous computers and the entire air traffic control system can be replaced with autonomous computerized controllers. Air travel will cost $30 to fly from NY to LA. Think of the efficiency gains.

    Yay drones!

    1. You’re a pilot, right? Experiencing any delays today? I was to take my first solo XC flight this morning but at the last second (I had my hand on the key to start the engine) the guy came running out of the FBO to tell me that winds had just changed with gusts above their SOP for student solos. I was planning on getting flight following and no one told me “gee, what with the sequester and all, you’ll have a hard time getting ATC’s attention for flight following). Not a mention of the sequester (our tower is not one of the ones scheduled for closing though).

      1. Retired pilot.

        The ATC system is antiquated. Talk about a government clusterfuck. How much could be automated and made more efficient if run by private industry?

        As it is, it’s a jobs program.

        Sorry to hear about your XC. I remember my first solo XC. What a great feeling. My 12th time in an airplane and they let me take one to another airport by myself. The Air Force wouldn’t let me do that for years.

        1. Thanks. Better safe than sorry though. Or more to the point, better safe than the FBO being liable for letting me go up outside their standards.

    2. Don’t be silly. The government will require human pilots and controllers for at least 20 years after they are no longer necessary.

      1. Jerbs. What would they ever do if their jerb was replaced by technology? SAVE THE BLACKSMITHS!

        In reality, drones really will make it happen faster. The biggest impediment to pilotless aircraft is…wait for it…


        I know you’re surprised. The FAA has a requirement for the pilot to “see and avoid” other traffic in visual meteorological conditions. The military pushed to reevaluate this requirement so they can fly their drones in US airspace.

      2. Hell, trains had firemen for, like, a century after they were all diesel.

  6. Will I be spending this delay time sitting on the airplane, or will I receive some sort of prior notice? If it’s the latter, no big deal because that’s just time I’ll spend at the sky bar getting further blitzed.

    And what year does the sequestration theoretically set us back to spending-wise? Because I’m pretty sure we had a full complement of air traffic controllers back then.

  7. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta said they have no choice but to cut controller staffing by 10 percent, which will reduce how many planes airports can handle…In the most extreme case, the furloughs could delay flights up to 210 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, depending upon the time of day and other factors.

    People really need to consider the venality and mendacity in that argument. LaHood is saying that out of his roughly $9.7 billion budget the most dispensable item, the service he is in least critical need of, is ATC staffing at Hartsfield. He is so intellectually incurious and dull that he cannot find anywhere else to reduce the size of his almost $10 billion organization than furloughing the single most high-profile component of his agency’s mission. What a repugnant human being.

    1. “What a repugnant human being.”

      He slurps at the government trough.

      1. Lool, if you’re not going to add anything new to the conversation then…well, welcome to the club!

    2. It’s not that he’s incurious and dull. (I mean, maybe he is, but that’s not the reason.)

      The reason is that cutting actual uselessness won’t get more money to the DOT.

      Cutting something vital will.

      (If I was President, of course, I’d fire him for trying.

      But that’s one of many reasons I’m not President.)

      1. Of course, the current president *wants* it to hurt do LaHood is doing his master’s bidding. That’s the whole point of the exercise.

  8. Ray laHood should be reason enough to institute impeachment proceedings against the idiot in the White House.

  9. Laugh Out Loud. These pricks act as if they have no discretion in what or how to cut their spending. They are creating the image that the cuts cause the slower service longer waits when its in fact the choice management is making. Sadly many will think oh my god how could they cut air traffic controllers. A case of government lobbying for themselves by being completely full of shit.

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